Today, President Serzh Sargsyan took part in the second-day session of the Eastern Partnership Summit in the Czech Republic. At the summit, the president made a statement.
Statement by the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan at the High-level Meeting on the 5th Anniversary of the Eastern Partnership
Armenia is interested in the further development of the Eastern Partnership format. It should continue to serve its major objective – united Europe that is free of dividing lines, stable and prosperous. It is important for the Eastern Partnership to be responsive to the vital interests of all the participating states. For Armenia it is first of all the unblocking of the closed border with Turkey.
It is an unfortunate reality that there is still no full-fledged collaboration between the partner states. Sometimes, we not only evade cooperation to achieve shared objectives but even display enmity and hatred towards each other. Yesterday’s statement by the President of Azerbaijan is the striking illustration of my words. Of course, his absence from today’s session deprives me of an opportunity to touch upon his speech in details. Instead of speaking about present day’s numerous issues he tried to assume the role of Turkey’s advocate. Instead of making a constructive proposal on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict he touched upon the four twenty one-year-old UN Security Council resolutions whose implementation had been brought about an abortion by Azerbaijan at that time.
The peaceful settlement of the conflicts in the European continent is of primary importance for the peace and prosperity. The settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains to be of vital importance for Armenia.
It is a matter of plain fact that Nagorno Karabakh has got a system of government based on the European values and corresponding to the democratic principles. It is long overdue to affirm de jure the factual exercise of the Artsakh people’s right to self-determination.
Assessing the road covered by the Eastern Partnership we can note that at the end of the day it was successful. As I said on numerous other occasions, it first of all provided the partner countries with an opportunity to coordinate and expand their domestic reforms. We have grounded it in shared values and consolidated the foundation for our collaboration.
Over the past five years Armenia and the European Union have done an extensive work: our political dialogue has been consolidated, we have taken joint efforts at responding to multifarious challenges. We have agreed upon and applied a visa-facilitation mechanism, which is one among the first tangible outcomes of our partnership.
Armenia has got an opportunity to participate in different EU programs and thus enlarged the framework of its sectoral cooperation. We are committed to taking further steps with our EU partners in order to form a new legal foundation regulating our relations, which on one hand will reflect the contents of Armenia’s preceding discussions with the EU, and on the other hand will be compatible with other formats for cooperation.
It is our conviction that none of the partner countries should be forced to pay a price for the decision it makes regarding its participation level in this or that integration process. We do not want to make a choice between friends, but we want to have as many friends as possible.
I believe that we have chosen the right path. The Eastern Partnership is not solely about an association agreement. It is basically an instrument. When we declared our approach of “both… and…” we meant an opportunity that envisages alternative, and not a choice of this or that instrument of cooperation. I am confident that if we continue to abide by shared values and respect each other’s decisions and choice our cooperation will proceed by the right path.
We sincerely believe that only through the avenue of cooperation and joint steps it is possible to materialize the vision of the united Europe in peace and prosperity.
In the end, I would like to note once again that the Eastern Partnership had some problems in its formation period yet. Particularly, the criterion of grouping partners was not clear: the countries differed in their approaches, their goals and I think that this is the reason that at least of the Eastern Partnership’s components – the regional cooperation component – was doomed to failure. I still do not understand the criterion of grouping Armenia and Azerbaijan into one partnership – different opportunities, different approaches, different goals – and this is the reason that component did not work. I am confident that in any case the partnership will continue and I am sure that there will be difficulties as they exist today, but I am also confident that all those difficulties will be addressed by peaceful means.
I thank you.